The fleet of 111 yachts ready to race 56th Moonsund Regatta | 12 Jul 13, piret.salmistu

Moonsund Regatta, which is the third leg of the EYU Estonian Offshore Sailing Championship, takes place from July 14 until July 20. This year’s fleet is divided into three classes that include ORC, ESTLYS and Folkboot.

Moonsund is the longest established offshore sailing event in Estonia. With 111 teams representing Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia, it will be an eagerly-awaited event for nearly 700 crewmembers. The regatta will set sail on July 14 in Haapsalu and proceed through the ports of Heltermaa, Kuivastu and Pärnu towards the final destination Roomassaare where the best and finest will be awarded.

This year the spectators can see some of the the action close-up: in Pärnu and Roomassaare boats will take people to follow the race near the shore and all races will be broadcast live over the Internet. Also, everyone is welcome to the ports to get the feel of the regatta. This regatta is not just a celebration of great sportsmanship but also a festivity for all fans and well-wishers. All events and entertainment in harbours is free of charge for all participants.

The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday, July 13, at 18:00 at Veskiviigi port in Haapsalu. The boats will harbour at Veskiviigi, Grand Holm Marina, Westmer, and Rohuküla (deep-draft boats). The week-long race will be launched by Urmas Sukles, mayor of Haapsalu,  Peeter Volkov of the Estonian Yachting Union, and three commodores of the organising yacht clubs – Kalev Vapper of ESS Kalev Yacht Club, Jüri Sõber of Pärnu Yacht Club and Margus Hiet of Saaremaa Merispordi Selts. Music by The Plingers and DJ Arno Kukk.

Sunday, July 14. The fleet will race towards Hiiumaa, Heltermaa port, with 25-40 miles to the finish. Evening entertainment: party with music by IIUKALA.
Monday: destination Muhu Island, Kuivastu harbour. The evening will be hosted by Muhu Municipality and the music is by Muhu Virtuoosid and a DJ.

The third, 47-70-mile race is between Kuivastu and Pärnu. Pärnu will host the regatta for three days, where the most competitive event will definitely be the fourth event – the upwind-downwind race on July 17. The spectators will be able to get a close-up aboard RUNÖ where comments will be provided by specialists. Pärnu radio station Päikeseraadio will broadcast the event live. During the evening festivities winners of the previous offshore sailing race – Watergate Regatta, will be recognised and awarded. The ceremony will be followed by regatta dinner and a concert by Vaiko Eplik and his band Eliit. The next day will see some more entertainment as the ‘seniors’ race on RS Fevas.

Thursday, July 18. The longest race will finish deep into the night at its final destination of Roomassaare.
Friday, July 19, is the day off with a gala dinner in Kuressaare Kuursaal and an award ceremony for the longest leg of the race. The after-party in Kuursaal will be fuelled by „Late’s 5“ and by SSB at Roomassaare harbour. On the last day the teams will race the Roomassaare circle and spectators can follow the race aboard the Abruka ferry. The final event of the exciting and intense week will be the award ceremony on July 20 at Roomassaare harbour, where entertainment is provided by Latvian rock’n’roll band Keksi.

The good news is that everyone can follow the regatta and its races online both on computers and smartphones.   

There will be seven racing groups according to the GPH (general purpose handicap) system. GPH shows the estimated speed of the yacht second/mile, i.e. in how many seconds a yacht should pass one mile in average conditions. Programs calculate individual coefficients of all yachts based on the measurements of the tackle, measurements of the sails, shape of the hull, weight of the team and other parameters.
GPH of groups: I group - less than 615.0; II group 615.1 – 651.0; III group 651.1-700.0; IV group above 710.1. There is also one group of Nordic Folkboats and two groups of ESTLYS class, where competition values are established based on the yachts’ earlier statistics.

The score for ORC groups is calculated on the basis of the Performance Line Offshore/Inshore method (Corrected time = (PLT * Elapsed time) – (PLD * Distance)). ESTLYS groups use the time-to-time method.
The front-runners of the fastest, nine-boat ORC 1 group, are two yachts from Dagö Yacht Club: Amserv (2012 Amateur ORC Offshore World Champion) with the team of Juss Ojala and Olympic with Tiit Vihul, but they will have to face some serious competition from the last years’ Estonian Champion Forte (Kalev YC) under the leadership of Tammo Otsasoo.

ORC 2 has 15 entries. There are at least two Salona 38 yachts ready to give the others a run for the class win: last years’ ORC World Championship’s fourth in its class and double Finnish Champion Sugar 2 from Pärnu Yacht Club with Mihkel Kosk and Reval Cafe with Eero Pank, a new boat from Kalev Yacht Club, fresh from a class win in this year’s Finland’s largest offshore regatta Suursaari Race. The others to watch would be ÅF Offshore Race (Gotland Runt) class winner Silva and Imre Marmor from Kalev Yacht Club but also last week’s Latvian Champion Katarina II with Aivar Tuulberg’s team from Pärnu Yacht Club.

The 13-boat ORC 3 racing class include Risto Riim at the helm of the recent winner of the Kessu regatta Jazz (Kalev YC), last year’s Moonsund winner Katariina  Jee with Mart Tamme (Saaremaa Merispoordi Selts) and also Kalev Yacht Club’s Sven Heili racing Passione.

ORC 4 12 boats will also meet some tough competition. There is the last three year’s Moonsund defending champion Edasi (Haapsalu YC) with the team of Koit Pauts but also last year’s runner-up Prizrak from St. Peterburg, Russia, with Dmitri Mostovoi and Leila (Kalev YC) under the steering of Priit Põldmaa.

ESTLYS1 class: last year’s Estonian Champion and double Suursaari Race class winner Fanatic from Kalev Yacht Club with Ain Jalasto is definitely ready to give Georg and Sven Feofanov (Pärnu YC), multiple winner of the Moonsund ORC3 class, a run for the class win.

ESTLYS2 will see last year’s winner Jorjen (Toila YC) with Mikk Põdra and Moonsund 2012 runner-up Kristi with Olle Tischler (Kalev YC) among competitors. As the LYS group has an exceptional number of entries this year, many surprises will undoubtedly be in store.  

Folkboots have ten contestants. Boats to watch: last year’s winner Tuuli (Haapsalu YC) with Olev Oolup,  Ahti and Ott Kolk (Saaremaa Merispordiselts) and Hard Perk with his Svea from Kalev Yacht Club.

The Moonsund Regatta is organised by ESS Kalev Yacht Club in co-operation with Pärnu Yacht Club,
Saaremaa Merispordi Selts and the Estonian Yachting Union.
The major sponsors of the Moonsund Regatta are A. Le Coq, Helly Hansen/Sportland, Estonian Maritime Association, Saarte Liinid, city of Haapsalu,  Delfi,  Tallink , Selver, Loodusinvest, Dermoshop, Joogikuller, Saaremaa Juust, Jägermeister and Muhu Municipality. 

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The EYU Offshore Sailing Cup consists of five regattas:
1) Kessu Regatta raced near Haapsalu, July 6-7;
2) Watergate Regatta (between Pärnu and Haapsalu), July 11-12;
3)  Moonsund Regatta, July 13-20; which also serves as the Estonian Championship for Offshore Sailing;
4) Ruhnu Regatta, August 10;
5) Tallinn Championships, September 7-8. Participating yachts are divided into four groups: ORC I, ORC II, ORC III, ORC IV. In all four groups the four best results of the series are considered.